Wednesday, August 21, 2013

108. The Rosenbach Museum

While I was in Philadelphia, I visited the Rosenbach Museum and Library, where an astonishing collection of books is being preserved in the former home of two (unmarried) brothers Rosenbach, A.S.W. (1876-1952) and Philip (1863-1953).

Entry to the Rosenbach Museum and Library
A.S.W. was the book dealer and book collector (the Folger and the Huntington Libraries benefited from his acute acquisitions in Great Britain); his brother Philip was the fine art dealer. Both were collectors in their own right. The Rosenbach Museum now holds the original manuscript of James Joyce's Ulysses and a shelf of Joseph Conrad manuscripts, as well as the papers of Marianne Moore and the drawings of Maurice Sendak.

The tour, on the eve of the SHARP 2013 conference in Philadelphia, allowed me to see some of the library's treasures.

After the tour, I asked for their copy of John Addington Symonds' In the Key of Blue (not yet in the catalogue of the Rosenbach), in order to check the signatures. (See my earlier blogs about this book: the first issue of In the Key of Blue, the signatures of In the Key of Blue, and Inked impressions of quads in In the Key of Blue). 

Detail of spine, J.A. Symonds, In the Key of Blue (1892)
The Rosenbach copy (shelf mark EL3. S988i)  is a well preserved copy in cream buckram, with the usual placing of the signatures (the A under ab in 'cinnabar' in the last line on page [1]).

It was tempting to ask for other books to come out of their glass cases, but there was no time. The upstairs library is a treasure trove, and the downstairs sitting and dining rooms make one wonder what went on in this collector's house.